4 Business Productivity Traps to Avoid in Your PR Agency

Jan 23, 2023

Everyone wants to be more productive and finish their to-do list every day, right? But as great as that sounds, focusing on productivity is not the way to achieve more for your business! It’s so easy for agency owners to get stuck in business productivity traps and waste their energy on low-impact tasks. Prioritizing productivity doesn’t guarantee you’re setting your agency up for success, so you need to know how to be productive the right way. 

Wait…What’s a Business Productivity Trap? 

Business productivity traps are real risks for agency owners, and they can seriously drain your energy and focus! A productivity trap keeps you running in circles chasing that next box on your to-do list instead of letting you concentrate on the big picture for your agency. You’ll have the satisfaction of saying you accomplished a ton of tasks in one day, but those tasks don’t really have an impact on the success of your agency. 

In my Elevate High-Performance Coaching program, we focus on cultivating a clear, bold, and creative vision for your business. But you can’t execute it and push yourself closer to your goals if you’re always caught up in little everyday tasks! Breaking out of business productivity traps is the first step in getting into a flow state with your agency and building your dream life.

4 Business Productivity Traps to Avoid in Your Agency 

You can’t get yourself out of a business productivity trap if you don’t even realize you’re stuck in one! It’s time to let go of hustle culture and start working toward your own definition of success. Here’s how to avoid four major business productivity traps that can seriously hold back your agency. 

#1: Multitasking and Context Shifting 

Jumping between a bunch of different tasks during the day seems super productive. I mean, you knock out a few emails, then jump on a call with a client, refine a few pitch angles for a different client once you’re off the call, then rinse and repeat all day. But even if you feel like you’re getting a lot done, you’re just tiring your brain out with this business productivity trap! 

Whenever you switch to a new task or client, your brain has to totally reset and refocus on what you’re doing now. And every time you do that, you lose out on valuable time and energy. The work that you complete at the end of the day just won’t be your best effort. 

Instead of constantly context shifting, try time-blocking your schedule to complete similar tasks before moving on to something new. Break your day into chunks and dedicate each to a specific task or type of task, like answering emails or writing a proposal for a prospective client. When you give your brain uninterrupted time to focus (whether that’s 30 minutes, an hour, or longer), you think more clearly, you’re more effective and accurate, and you work quicker than you would if you were multitasking. 

#2: Scheduling Too Much Time for Meetings and Calls 

This is one of the easiest business productivity traps you can get caught in! A lot of agency owners set their meetings for 30 minutes or an hour regardless of how long the conversation will likely last. But if you’re not going to use that entire time, why put it on your calendar?

Meetings tend to fill up the time they’re given. And even though scheduling time to connect with your clients or your team certainly feels productive, you’re building dead space into your day. You might spend 10 minutes just chatting with your team before starting your meeting in earnest, or, on the off chance you finish a meeting early, you can easily turn that extra time into a break instead of using it to complete some work. 

You can free up over an hour each day by scheduling shorter meetings and limiting calls with clients! I prefer to meet with clients only once or twice a month and I schedule those calls for the necessary amount of time — when you only have 15 minutes to talk instead of 30, everyone stays focused and you move through conversations quickly. When you do have space between meetings, take advantage of it to complete any next steps or prep for an upcoming call.  

#3: Trying to Get More Done! 

I know, I know: getting more done is literally the goal of business productivity! But when your sole focus is on completing as many tasks as possible, you often end up working through meals, not taking breaks, and staying at your desk all hours of the night. Chasing productivity is a productivity trap in and of itself! 

Do not take pride in the grind — working nonstop drains your energy, focus, and clarity and prevents you from doing your best work. Constantly spinning your wheels is not the way to deliver killer service and results to your clients. Your quality of work (and life!) will slowly decrease until you hit your breaking point and burn out completely. 

Though it may seem counterintuitive, taking breaks and giving yourself time to rest is crucial to your success! Stepping away from your desk and going outside for some fresh air helps you recharge and regain some clarity so you can think through tough strategies later in the day. Implementing mindfulness practices like meditation and journaling creates space for peace when you’re stressed and helps you stay grounded and motivated.

Related: How to Avoid Burnout When You're a Busy PR Professional

#4: Having a Quick Response Time at All Times 

A lot of digital agency owners feel like they need to be accessible to their clients 24/7 if they want to be the best service provider possible. Taking care of emails quickly gives the illusion of business productivity, but it’s not doing you any favors in the long run

If you’re always on-call for your clients, you can’t have healthy work boundaries! We talk about this a lot in my Elevate High-Performance Coaching program — I want you to have meaningful relationships and have time to focus on your physiology, psychology, and connections with others. Without work boundaries, you won't be able to fully check out of work and check into quality time with your friends, family, and yourself. Everyone needs that time to cultivate meaningful relationships, and your mental state can start to seriously suffer without it. 

Set and enforce strict boundaries with your clients regarding your availability during the workday, at night, and on weekends. Make sure they know that if they contact you on your off-time with non-urgent matters, you’ll respond as soon as you can on the next business day. It can be tough to let go of the belief that your value as an agency owner is tied to your availability, but you’ll be much better off for it!

Related: How to Set Client Boundaries So You Don't Get Taken Advantage Of

Constantly seeking peak business productivity in your agency is a trap in and of itself! You won’t have the energy or the time to grow and scale your business if you’re constantly stuck working on low-impact projects. Eliminating productivity traps is the best way to reclaim your time and put your agency back on the path to success.